Thursday, 24 May 2018

The Hockey Show - Episode 296

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, has a big show with some extremely important guests have done some hockey-related things! As vague as that is, we're going to close out Round Two of the Survivor: NHL Playoffs contest, sponsored by Lays and their Show Your Emotions contest, by eliminating Jeff and the San Jose Sharks before hitting the breaks on any additional exit interviews this week. Why, you ask? We get to welcome three amazing individuals who will allow Beans and I to talk about all sorts of achievements and accolades they've managed to acquire in their hockey careers!

Before we get to that, let's update the Survivor: NHL Playoffs contest after last night's Game Seven between the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning.
Our two long-distance out-of-town entrants are the final two Survivors standing on NHL Playoffs Island as John, carried by Marc-Andre Fleury and the Vegas Golden Knights, will square off against Teri, powered by Holtby and Burakovksy in Game Seven's win over Tampa Bay. Only one can survive, and the Stanley Cup Final starts on Monday, May 28! With their eliminations, we'll have Billy and the Jets do an interview next week along with Dan and the Lightning to close out Round Three!

Tonight, however, we have more pressing matters as the three women seen to the left will be in-studio - Twizzlers for all! - to talk some hockey! The Hockey Show is proud, humbled, privileged, and honoured to welcome three members of the Balmoral Hall Blazers to the studio in Regan Boulton, Katie Bassett, and Kennesha Miswaggon! Katie and Kennesha play for the Blazers while Regan, an alumna of the program, works for the Blazers as the Admissions Officer and Hockey Recruiter for the school. These three won a bronze medal with the Blazers at this year's Female World Sport Challenge in early February before Bassett and Miswaggon went on to represent Manitoba at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championship where they captured Manitoba's second consecutive gold medal at the event! We'll talk to them about school life and traveling in a prep hockey program, winning medals, being generally awesome, and everything else before we quiz them on how much they actually know about Regan Boulton because her hockey career is one that may amaze you. Tune in tonight when these three amazing women join Beans and I on The Hockey Show at 5:30pm!

I can hear some of you saying, "I know them and I want to listen!" Well, the easiest way is for you to download the UMFM app on your phone or tablet. It's literally the easiest and most convenient way to listen to any of UMFM's great shows any time of the day, so go get it! Just follow this link on your iDevice or this link for your Android device and get the UMFM app! It's never been easier to tune into The Hockey Show or UMFM! Download the UMFM app today, and don't miss any of our great programming or shows! Of course, you can do the radio thing at the 101.5 frequency on the FM dial and you can always listen online via the UMFM website as well!

If you prefer social media, we try to remain up-to-speed there! Email all show questions and comments to hockeyshow@umfm.com! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter. You can also post some stuff to Facebook if you use the "Like" feature, and I always have crazy stuff posted there that doesn't make it to the blog or show.

Tonight, we meet Regan Boulton, Katie Bassett, and Kennesha Miswaggon to hear all about their amazing hockey careers and much more only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the UMFM.com web stream!

PODCAST: May 24, 2018: Episode 296

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

More Musicians? You Got It!

It's a Wednesday, there's a pretty important Game Seven being played in the NHL between the Washington Capitals and the Tampa Bay Lightning, there's an AHL Calder Cup semifinal game happening that features the Toronto Marlies and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the Fort Wayne Komets and Colorado Eagles are battling in the ECHL's Kelly Cup Playoffs, and there were a pile of awards handed out in the KHL today plus they tossed out some news. All of that happened, but I'm back with another pile of images of musicians with hockey merchandise. Why? Because I found a trove of images that I feel I need to share. So let's do that now!

I had made the comment in the last article that Canadian twins Tegan and Sara hadn't been spotted in a hockey jersey despite being Canadian and despite Sara holding a Team Canada jersey. Well, I was wrong because the Calgary-based twin songstresses actually have Calgary Flames jerseys!

Tara Slone is back with another somewhat-obscure jersey as she visited Sarnia and donned the jersey of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League's Sarnia Legionnaires! The Legionnaires have been around since 1969, but only have used the name "Legionnaires" since 2008. From 1969-1995, they were the Sarnia Bees. From 1995-1999, they were the Sarnia Steeplejacks - a tradesman who scales large buildings, chimneys, and church steeples to make repairs and performance maintenance. From 1999-2001, they combined the names to become the Sarnia Steeplejack-Bees - seriously? - before becoming the Sarnia Blast from 2001-2008. The history of this team's names is something to behold!

Speaking of obscure, I'm going to doubt that anyone in North America has heard of Pelegeya, better known by her full name of Pelageya Sergeyevna Khanova, who sings "folk-songs from different nations in different languages, romances and compositions written by the members of her group, mostly in rock arrangements" as per Wikipedia. Apparently, she and Russian hockey player Ivan Telegin have been in a relationship for some time, and she was spotted wearing the Team Russia colours - that's her on the left - while supporting her husband!

Nickelback is from Alberta. Nickelback plays concerts in large cities. Nickelback got Calgary Flames jerseys!

In a photo that is from last year, I would have never guessed that actor Jared Leto and lead singer of Thirty Seconds to Mars would don anything hockey-related. However, I was wrong as Jared Leto donned a Nashville Predators t-shirt from the Stanley Cup Final at some point!

Gerald Earl Gillum, better known to rap and hip-hop fans as G-Eazy, was born in Oakland, California. Like most rappers and hip-hop artists, there seems to be some affinity for hockey jerseys as G-Eazy has sported a Wisconsin Badgers jersey and a Chicago Blackhawks jersey in separate concerts!

Clay Aiken at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game. 'Nuff said.

Someone I'd never expect to see in an NHL jersey during a hockey game: Charlie Daniels of the Charlie Daniels Band! The devil may have gone down to Georgia, but the musician visited Nashville and got himself a jersey!

I wasn't aware that he was a big hockey fan, but drummer Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers is apparently a big New York Rangers fan! He actually plays goaltender in charity events!

For a number of Canadian artists who found themselves working in Las Vegas over the last few years, having the Jets meet the Golden Knights in this year's playoffs tested some musicians' loyalties. Bartley Kives found this out when he spoke to Brent Fitz, seen on the right, who is from Winnipeg but lives and works in Las Vegas. Fitz, for those who want some background, has worked with and/or played with Slash, Theory of a Deadman, Alice Cooper, Vince Neil, Gene Simmons, The Guess Who, Streetheart, Harlequin, and Econoline Crush.

Country musicians are frequent on these articles, so let's credit Brandon Lay with somewhat breaking tradition as he, standing on the left, donned a Chicago Blackhawks jersey while in the Windy City!

Vegas' musical fanbase is growing with each and every playoff win, and one of the groups who are now full-fledged Golden Knights fans are the Backstreet Boys.

I always like seeing musicians supporting their hometown teams. That's as close to being a true fan as one can get. Credit Ottawa-based country musician Angela Marie for supporting her Ottawa Senators in one of those rather hideous alternate jerseys.

If you had to pick one musician who is synonymous with Las Vegas, a resounding number of people would automatically name Wayne Newton as their choice. He has been called "Mr. Las Vegas", and has been performing in Vegas since 1958! It's only appropriate that Wayne Newton is officially in the Vegas Golden Knights fan club!

Vince Gill had the honour of being one of the celebrity coaches when the NHL All-Star Game visited Nashville!

Ron Burwash is a name that won't be familiar to many, but he actually played hockey before becoming a prominent musician who sang of Métis traditons and customs! There's an excellent article I hope you'll read that was written by Eric Westhaver in the Flin Flon Reminder about Ron Burwash. Why is that important? Here's a photo of Tom Gilmore, Bobby Clarke, and Ron Burwash with the Flin Flon Bombers!

It's kind of cool to see two musicians who share a love of hockey performing together, but I'm not quite certain how the arguments in this "superband" are settled with Jody Richardson sporting the colours of the Detroit Red Wings and Kim Stockwood wearing the Boston Bruins jersey! If you can see him in the background, that's Dave Bidini on guitar as well, and he's a huge Maple Leafs fan! They have half of the Original Six teams covered in this collection of Canadian music icons who came together to write a hockey song about a real-life hockey romance!

Kelsea Ballerini is a country music singer, and she was a featured performer at the NHL All-Star Game in Nashville!

Earl Pereira, formerly the bassist for Wide Mouth Mason and currently performing with The Steadies, donned the pads and an Oilers jersey to show his support of his favorite team! That baseball glove, while good for stopping road hockey balls, won't do anything if he's stopping pucks.

I'm not familiar with his solo music, but Canadian songwriter and country and rock musician Dallas Smith was once the lead singer for the band Default. He was born in Langley, BC so you'd think he'd be a little more of a Vancouver Canucks fan, but here he is sporting an Ottawa Senators jersey!

Yes, this is a terrible image, but I had to grab it off a screengrab from a cell phone video posted to social media, so it was already going to be bad. However, Shania Twain rolled through Winnipeg recently. Did she add a Jets jersey to her wardrobe? Somehow, she did not. The man pictured, though, is her guitarist Cory Churko, and he made the Winnipeg fans happy!

Let's do the Justin Bieber hockey jersey world tour as he was seen wearing the jerseys of the minor-hockey Stratford Warriors, the Toronto Arenas, the New Jersey Devils, the Manchester Storm, les Gothiques d'Amiens, Team Canada (how is he always with Gretzky?), the Army Black Knights, the Toronto St. Pats, and the home jersey of the Arizona Coyotes. I'm almost certain he has an entire walk-in closet just filled with hockey jerseys at this point.

If we can have an androgynous musician's world hockey jersey tour, we can certainly have one for a man who has what most would be considered a female name. Alice Cooper is a big hockey fan, and we can stamp that official with Alice appearing in a retro Coyotes jersey, an Edmonton Oilers jersey, a Detroit Red Wings jersey, a Nashville Predators jersey, a Manchester Storm jersey, a Phildelphia Flyers jersey, and a Reading Royals jersey! Alice Cooper moves up the "who has the most jerseys standings" in a big way on this article!

With the two articles just a week apart featuring all these musicians, I feel like I'm making up for lost time as I hadn't posted anything in the musicians-in-jerseys category in a long time. If you want to see the full collection of all the musicians who have been found wearing some sort of hockey jersey or something close to a jersey, please click here. If you have an image you want to submit, send it here! Credit will be given, but make sure you check the list first!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Newfoundland Growlers

It's another Tuesday, so I'll be back in the heat and sunshine of the ball diamond umpiring once more. Like last week's Tuesday entry, there's another logo to examine as the ECHL welcomed its newest member club in the Newfoundland Growlers! The Growlers, rumoured to be the Toronto Maple Leafs' ECHL affiliate in the coming season, rolled out their logo - seen to the left - as they unveiled the name, logo, and website today for the team. And whenever there's a new logo unveiled, HBIC is there to opine on the new imagery that has been released! The key to remember in all this? My opinion amounts for squat, so if you're happy with what you read here, I will issue full refunds for anyone who wants them!

Let's go to the marketing speak first.

That's a solid description of a Newfoundland dog, but there's already a problem as Newfoundland dogs were naturally found as black or Landseer (black-and-white), not brown or gold as pictured in the logo. The traits describing the dog - strength, intelligence, loyalty - are all trademarks of the breed, though, so kudos to the Growlers for picking a majestic animal to represent their team. Even if the colour of the dog is a product of domestication.

The logo was designed by Idea Factory, a St. John's marketing company, who has worked with companies like Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, Suncor Energy, The Salvation Army, Marine Atlantic, and The Paint Shop among the numerous regional, national, and international companies on their portfolio. In other words, these guys know what they're doing, and I personally like the logo that Idea Factory came up with for the Growlers!

It's an understated logo, like the Golden Knights, that uses the shadows on the profile of the dog to really convey the imagery of fierceness and stoicism. Depending on the jersey colours and features on the jersey, this could be one of the ECHL's best-selling jerseys for some time. As stated in the press release,
"The colour palette was inspired by an iconic photo of Private Hazen Frazier with Sable Chief, a Newfoundland dog that served as the mascot of The Royal Newfoundland Regiment during WWI. The vintage tones compliment the dog's dark hues, creating a strong combination with a classic, universal appeal. Paired with a forged-style font, the hard edges and strong weight give it a stone-chiseled feel which lends itself well to the vintage style of the logo."
I like the logo a lot, and the colours chosen by the team could given the Growlers one of the more unique looks in all of hockey.

Here's the video the team used today at the press conference.

Ok, count me in as one of the excited fans of the Growlers! I'm excited to see the uniforms they'll wear, and those will be unveiled later this summer as the first game for the Newfoundland Growlers in their inaugural season will be October 12 when they face off against the Florida Everblades at Mile One Centre. In saying all this, the question must be asked: what are your thoughts on the ECHL's Newfoundland Growlers?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 21 May 2018

Lou York Islanders?

I was going to write this funny opening bit about Lou Lamoriello calling New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow and basically telling Garth that he was on his way to help save the Islanders by ensuring that John Tavares stayed on Long Island in Brooklyn. It occurred to me as I was writing said bit that perhaps Garth Snow might have actually asked assistant GM and Lou's son Chris Lamoriello for some help in what will surely be a defining negotiation for the Islanders franchise and Garth Snow's legacy. If Tavares leaves via free agency, the Islanders are doomed. If they re-sign him long-term, there's a chance they can really build something with some of the great prospects they have in their system. Lou Lamoriello joining the Islanders certainly is news, but this might be a story of how Garth Snow signed his own termination papers.

It's unknown exactly what role Lou Lamoriello will be assuming in the Islanders' hierarchy at this point, but you'd have to figure that he brings with his a sense of stability for a franchise who simply seems stuck in neutral outside the playoff picture. At this point, I'd expect him to move into a corner office with a title of Savior of Franchise or something grandiose that basically tells everyone - Garth Snow and son Chris included - that he's making the decisions about everything hockey happening at Barclays Center now. Otherwise, why would he make this move?

As an advisor for the Leafs, he could impart wisdom on new general manager Kyle Dubas, but Dubas doesn't have to listen. That's not something that I believe a man who pulled every string with the New Jersey Devils and the vast majority of strings with the Maple Leafs could be happy with, so this move almost became inevitable the moment that Brendan Shanahan removed the "General Manager" placard off Lou's door at the Air Canada Centre. Lou Lamoriello likes being in charge and certainly holding the power of control when it comes to the hockey teams he has worked for, and this move to the Islanders sounds like he's already making waves.

According to reports, Lamoriello has already reached out to John Tavares in an effort to keep him in the Islanders' fold, and that's probably something that Tavares never expected unless the call was coming from downtown Toronto. Where Lou excels in his manipulation of information is that nothing is ever leaked to, told to, implied by, or said explicitly to any member of the media without Lou's authorization. In other words, Lou Lamoriello could have been working for the Islanders for the last two weeks, and no one would have been the wiser. As it stands, his contact with Tavares apparently is kosher with the NHL thanks to his behind-the-scenes work on behalf of the Islanders that started, well, whenever he arrived in Brooklyn.
So what happens now? Lou Lamoriello will most certainly find a way to keep John Tavares. That is the first priority for the Islanders if they have any hope of being relevant in the next decade. After that, expect Lou to institute an impressive scouting department and draft strategy that will put the Islanders in a good position within three-to-five years. From there, it's all about signing quality college-graduated free agents that will fill gaps and provide excellent depth to an organization desperately needing some.

Like he did in Toronto, this won't be an overnight change. Lamoriello will change the culture entirely from within the organization in order to being stability and, more importantly, success to the franchise from the product on the ice at Barclays Center to the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers to the ECHL's Worcester Railers. There may be steps backwards in order to move forward, and this might be a confusing time for Islanders fans who have long wanted to see a winning team on the ice. If you trust in Lou, though, he will change things for a franchise that desperately needs some success in both the regular season and the postseason.

The one person who may not get to experience this? GM Garth Snow. Snow has been guiding this Islanders ship since July 18, 2006 when he took over after Neil Smith was dismissed after just 41 days. Snow has brought in some impressive talent during his time in the big chair - Ryan Smyth, Jordan Eberle, Shane Prince, Nick Leddy, Johnny Boychuk - but the Islanders have missed the playoffs seven times in his 12 years at the helm and have only advanced past the first round once. That's not the kind of resumé you want to roll out in front of your new boss, and Lou Lamoriello, known for making coaching changes at rather odd times, may dismiss his general manager in the near future in order to change the culture.

A new era in New York Islanders hockey has begun, and the winds of change may already be blowing as Lou settles in to right another ship. If he can make the Islanders as successful as the New Jersey Devils, there might be a very good reason to start calling them the Lou York Islanders.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 20 May 2018

The End Of The Beginning

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Winnipeg Jets today: the score stood two to one, with but one period more to play. Everything the Jets threw at Marc-Andre Fleury, save for one Josh Morrissey shot, had been turned away. And, in Vegas, fans are cheering, and, in Winnipeg, fans will pout, because there is no joy for the WhiteOut — the mighty Jets are now out.

In a 4-1 series win, the hottest goaltender in these playoffs in Fleury took his team to new heights once more as Vegas joined the Toronto Arenas and the St. Louis Blues as the only expansion teams to reach the Stanley Cup Final in their first seasons. Jonathan Marchessault, a 27 year-old winger who had been cast aside by Columbus, Tampa Bay, and Florida, was outstanding in this series win over the Jets, and linemate Reilly Smith, who was part of the Tyler Seguin-to-Dallas deal and was sent to Florida for Jimmy Hayes, had himself one heckuva series as well.

In the end, those three players were the darkness that swallowed the WhiteOut's enthusiasm as they continually deflated the sails of the Jets who, at times, seemed like the better team for large chunks of games. It didn't matter if the Jets scored, though, as one of Marchessault or Smith would respond moments later with a goal, a turnover to cause a goal, or a pass to setup a goal. On the other end, Fleury continued to come up big for Vegas as he turned away Jets chances time and time again.

Make no mistake that this Vegas Golden Knights team is a collective bundle of energy who bring intense pressure on the forecheck, forces turnovers in the neutral zone, and plays in-your-face in the defensive zone with little regard for their own bodies and safety when it comes to blocking shots and throwing hits. They're fast, aggressive, and they roll four lines as well as anyone as the Jets found out. Having a three-time Stanley Cup champion between the pipes behind this group of players with a singular focus only makes them that much harder to defeat.

The series-winning goal came off the stick of one-time Manitoba Moose defender Luca Sbisa - a defender who was roundly considered one of the worst defenders fans had seen in his time with the Moose - and was deflected past Connor Hellebuyck by Winnipeg-born Ryan Reaves - a physical specimen traded for by the Penguins to defend their stars only to be traded to Vegas when a salary cap crunch was presented upon the Penguins' acquisition of Derrick Brassard. The Winnipeg connection on the series-winning goal was not lost on me, and I want to give credit to Vegas head coach Gerard Gallant who found the positives in the games of two players who were thought to be nothing more than bottom-of-the-lineup players.

Look, it wasn't all Vegas in this series either. Connor Hellebuyck lost the battle between the two goaltenders, but I'm pretty sure that Jonathan Quick and Martin Jones - two goalies who had outstanding seasons and playoff series - lost that battle too. Hellebuyck was good enough to win at least two of the games that Winnipeg lost, but the problem was that Marc-Andre Fleury was just that much better in keeping the Jets from providing their netminder the goals he needed.

The duo of Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler was outstanding for the entire playoffs, and they needed just a little more from rookie Kyle Connor to take their play to the next level. Connor was great at times, but not consistently great throughout the playoffs. The maturity, experience, and knowledge Connor gained throughout these playoffs will benefit him for the remainder of his career.

Paul Stastny, as has been said on many sites, was the absolute gem of the trade deadline as he made the Laine-Ehlers combo that much better. His 13 points came at vital times, but, like the rest of the Jets, he found himself against a very stout Golden Knights defence that wouldn't allow him to set up shop in front of Fleury as easily as he had in previous series. Stastny should be in-line for a solid pay day as his performance in these playoffs was the most inspired I had seen him play in several seasons.

While people lamented on the lack of goal-scoring between Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers - five goals combined, all off the stick of Laine - these are two young players experiencing their first NHL playoffs. Defences tighten up, room to maneuver is less, and there aren't a lot of openings one can take without being hit or defended. They'll learn how to score goals in these spots, but their 14 combined assists show that they're weren't AWOL in the Jets' lineup. They made good plays and found players who were in prime scoring spots, and that's a huge positive for these two young players.

Trouba, Morrissey, Byfuglien, Tanev, Copp, Lowry, and Perreault all showed their worth in the Jets' lineup as well while players like Joe Morrow, Ben Chiarot, and Jack Roslovic should all be given shots at cracking the roster full-time next season. This Jets team is deep and talented, and that bodes well for the future.

If there's a silver lining on today's dark cloud over Winnipeg, there should be some review of history. The Chicago Blackhawks, whose model which upon these Jets were built, lost in five games to Detroit in 2009 before starting their three-Cups-in-six-years run in 2010. There is absolutely zero guarantee that Winnipeg will do the same thing, but the youth and experience that this Jets team possesses would make it seem like they're an automatic favorite for next season already.

It was one heckuva run for a team that most figured would just make the playoffs this season, let alone be second-overall in the NHL and a Western Conference finalist. Take nothing away from what the Jets accomplished - they played their tails off and deserve a pile of credit for the efforts given and results attained. The success of this team made the WhiteOut and the street parties a ton of fun, and there's real hope and confidence this will be an annual event now.

In the end, a well-coached team with an incredible system and an amazing goaltender ended the season for the Jets. There's a line in hockey that one must first learn how to lose before one learns how to win. The Jets will learn from this series loss, and they'll hopefully be able to take steps forward from it. If they do, next season could prove even bigger for the fans in Winnipeg!

For now, the summer is for making improvements, adjustments, and fixes that the Jets need to take that next step. There will be difficult decisions to make, but that's why GM Kevin Cheveldayoff makes the big bucks. It all starts again in October, Jets fans. Today marks the end of the beginning of the era of the Winnipeg Jets. Reset this summer, and let's get ready for another incredible season of Jets hockey!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!